WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), introduced a bill on Friday to designate U.S. Route 412, from I-35 in Noble County, Oklahoma, to I-49 in Springdale, Arkansas, as a future interstate.
KNWA/FOX24 spoke to planning organizations from both regions who say this is a good thing.
“We’re interested to see how this all plays out over the next 6 to 12 months,” Tim Conklin with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission said.
We are very excited about it. We think it offers great promise and we look forward to working to see that it’s successful.
RICH BRIERRE, INDIAN NATIONS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
KNWA/FOX24 spoke to a man who travels 412 often. He said he’s concerned this would make driving even more of a pain.
“It’s already so busy now that if they turn it into an interstate, I imagine the traffic is going to be just non-stop congestion, so not too excited about it,” Shane Thomas said.
Putting it to an interstate standard would mean they would be able to handle the freight and that would improve travel time between the two regions.
VIPLAVA PUTTA, INDIAN NATIONS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
No matter how you feel about 412 possibly becoming an interstate, it’ll be a very long road before it comes to be.
“This isn’t something that happens overnight,” Rich Brierre with the Indian Nations Council of Governments said.
It will take one or two generations to actually see the entire corridor improved.
TIM CONKLIN, NORTHWEST ARKANSAS REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
“Connecting Northwest Arkansas and North Central Oklahoma will encourage economic development along this corridor and expand opportunities for employment in the region,” said Boozman. “I’m proud to join Senator Inhofe and Senator Cotton in designating U.S. Route 412 as a future interstate.”
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz and Arkansas Department of Transportation expressed their support for the move in the following letter:
“While most major metropolitan areas across the nation have two or more interstate Highways connecting their region, the Tulsa area and the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area are both served by just one interstate highway, I-44 and I-49, respectively,” read the release from Inhofe’s office on Friday.
The senators state that with the Tulsa area growing to more than one million in population after the 2020 census, and the Northwest Arkansas area rapidly growing to over 500,000 in population, it is “clear that a future interstate designation for U.S. Route 412 is needed to keep pace with the region’s economic growth.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) Director Rich Brierre also expressed their support for the measure.
Click the image to view the Senate Bill